Whether alternative military service exists and, if so, whether it involves serving as teachers in rural areas; the documents issued to confirm completion of military service; duration of compulsory military service [IRN32413.E]

Please refer to IRN32157.E of 9 July 1999 for information from the Higher Education Advisory of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Canada on the use of conscripts as teachers in rural areas.

War Resisters' International states, based on a 1997 UN Commission on Human Rights report and a 1991 Amnesty International report, that "the right to conscientious objection is not legally recognized and there are no provisions for substitute service" (Sept. 1998, 151). However, according to a Professor of Political Science at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, who specializes in Iranian politics and is a past Executive Director of the Center for Iranian Research and Analysis (CIRA):

Like many countries in the world, Iran has a mandatory military draft. However, it is now possible to "buy out" one's military commitment. The following rates apply (US$1 =9,300 Iranian rials):
For those without a high school diploma, the buy-out is 11 million rials. For those with a high school diploma, the buy out is 12 million rials. For those with a junior college degree, the buy out is 13 million rials. For those with a four-year college degree (bachelor's degree), the buy out is 15 million rials. For those with a master's degree, the buy out is 17 million rials. For those with a doctorate in non-health related fields, the buy out is 19 million rials. For those with a doctorate in a medical field, the buy out rate is 21 million rials.
Please note that these rates only apply to one's military obligation and are subject to change (2 July 1999).

For information on military discharge, or completion cards, please refer to IRN30151.E of 7 October 1998, IRN19888.E of 27 February 1995, and IRN19889.E of 27 February 1999.

For information on the length of military service in Iran please consult IRN27704.E of 12 September 1997 and IRN18374.E of 11 October 1994. In addition, The Military Balance 1997/98 states that the length of military service is 24 months (1998, 125).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


The Military Balance 1997-1998. 1998. London: International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Professor of Political Science, Spring Hill College, Mobile, Alabama. 2 July 1999. Correspondence.

Refusing to Bear Arms: A World Survey of Conscription and Conscientious Objection to Military Service. September 1998. London: War Resisters' International.